It can be a worrying time if you're a casual worker. Luckily, there are a few ways to get help. We've put together a list of what you need to know if you're a casual worker, especially if you need to take time off, are made unemployed or your work temporarily closes.
What are my rights as a casual worker?
As it stands, casual workers are not currently entitled to paid sick leave in Australia under the National Employment Standards. This means that if you're not able to work due to coronavirus or because you're required to self-isolate, you won't be entitled to paid leave in the way part time or full-time workers are.
If an employer enforces isolation or closes the business, casual workers are still not entitled to paid leave. Now, your best option is to speak to your employer and see if you can come to an agreement about paid leave should they need to temporarily shut down. They might be able to keep you on the books if they are eligible for the JobKeeper payments of $1,500/fortnight.
Remember that if you are dismissed and you feel it is harsh, unjust or unreasonable, you are protected by the Fair Work Act and can lodge a complaint.
What can I do if I lose my job or have my shifts cut?
If you lose your job or have shifts cut as a result of the coronavirus, you can access the following welfare support. Recipients of these benefits will see a $550 fortnightly increase on benefits due to the Coronavirus Supplement, or be eligible for a $750 Economic Support payment.
- JobKeeper payment. If you're a part-time worker or a casual employee that has been stood down or had their hours reduced, you could be eligible to receive a minimum fortnightly payment of $1,500 before tax from your employer. Casual employees must have worked for their employer for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible. Find out more in our comprehensive JobKeeper guide.
- Jobseeker payment. Formerly known as Newstart, this is intended to assist those who are looking for work. The government has temporarily waived many waiting periods and expanded eligibility for the payment.
- Youth allowance. This is an income supplement for job seekers aged 16 - 21, or full-time students or apprentices under the age of 25. If you've lost your job or casual shifts and are the right age, you may be able to access this payment.
- Coronavirus Supplement. This is an additional $550 for those who are already on welfare payments. It will automatically be applied on 27th April.
- JobSeeker Payment
- Sickness Allowance
- Youth Allowance for jobseekers
- Parenting Payment Partnered
- Parenting Payment Single
- Partner Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
What is the Coronavirus Supplement?
The Coronavirus Supplement is intended to provide additional support for Australians who are suffering financially as a result of the coronavirus. Basically, it's an extra $550 fortnightly payment that will be added to existing welfare payments from the 27th of April.
It applies to recipients of the following benefits:
What do I need to do to access the Coronavirus Supplement?
If you're on an eligible welfare program already, you won't have to do anything to get the Coronavirus Supplement. It will be automatically added to your payments from the 27th of April. To apply for welfare, you can use MyGov via a Centrelink account.
How to request financial hardship for your bills
Many services, from broadband to energy providers to banks, have financial hardship systems in place for customers who are struggling to pay their bills. Given the huge economic impact of the coronavirus, these programs are more important than ever.
Usually, to access financial hardship measures, you simply need to contact the relevant provider and state you're having financial difficulty.
Take care of your mental health
If you're experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, try reaching out to Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. You can speak with trained mental health professionals over the phone or through the online forum. Their website also contains excellent information and tools for maintaining good mental health.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or severe emotional distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They are a 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention network.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000 to get help from emergency services as soon as possible.
Article adapted from https://www.finder.com.au/getting-help-casual-workers